When you divorced, you and your co-parent received a court order regarding your children’s living arrangements. Colorado law calls this order the allocation of parental responsibilities, but you might know it as a child custody or parenting time plan.
The arrangements worked well at first. However, now that your kids are older and you and your co-parent have moved on, they are not functioning as well. What can you do when your carefully laid parenting time plan no longer works?
Courts realize that an order outlining parental responsibilities will not work permanently. The needs of children and parents alike typically evolve at a steady pace following divorce. Family law judges know that sooner or later, your child custody plan will need to be modified.
You must show a significant change in circumstances to obtain court approval for custody modifications. For example, if you suffer severe injuries in an accident, the court will likely approve a change that gives your co-parent more responsibility, at least temporarily.
Changes outside the court
You can also alter your child custody arrangements outside the court. For example, when your kids become teens, you might need to give them more free time to spend with their peers. However, there are risks involved with modifying your plan outside of the official process.
Do-it-yourself changes are not legally binding, meaning that your co-parent can decide not to comply. You also risk falling into the bad habit of altering your custody plans on the fly – which can make your arrangements even more complicated.
It is best to seek parenting time or child custody modifications through the court, preferably with professional guidance. Doing so helps protect your kids from potentially harmful or unreasonable changes and preserve your parenting rights.